South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem’s administration is floating a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the state.

Lawmakers this week got their first look at the draft measure which limits the number of plants a medical marijuana user could grow in their home, while also ending South Dakota’s practice of incarcerating adults caught using or possessing marijuana for recreational purposes.

Argus has obtained a draft of the measure which decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of marijuana concentrate. Possessing or using marijuana without a medically-qualifying condition in the state would remain illegal.

A first offense would be a petty offense and not subject to jail time for people over 21 however.

Any subsequent offenses would be a class 2 misdemeanor. Currently the charge is a class 1 status of marijuana possession.

The measure also would prohibit youth and people under 21 from smoking or inhaling marijuana, regardless of their medical situation.

The Governor’s chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen, said that Noem isn’t necessarily in support of the draft proposal, among multiple being considered by Noem and lawmakers behind the scenes.

“This is one of several draft bills being circulated for discussion and Gov. Noem has not endorsed any of them,” Venhuizen said.

Recently the Governor and her administration had went to court to block legal medical marijuana from taking effect on July 1st. The state Senate however refused to sign off on the plan to “delay implementation” of medical marijuana without also reducing the severity of South Dakota’s recreational pot laws.


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